Archive for February, 2012

Washington voters pass $2.6 billion in taxes for education

You did not see that headline last week, but you should have.

You may have read reports about levies in a particular district or county, but there was precious little attention paid to what happened all across the state. What happened was that voters overwhelmingly supported their local schools and voted for $2.6 billion in taxes to support education.

Let’s say it again: Voters overwhelmingly supported their local schools and voted for $2.6 billion in taxes to support education.

Out of 295 school districts, 157 went to their local communities seeking support to the tune of over $2.7 billion dollars in property taxes. Out of the 157 school districts that put levies on the ballot, 152 of them passed. In a time where we hear that voters will not support revenue, the local election results stand in stark contrast to that narrative.

In most cases, local dollars make up around 25% of the total operating costs of a school district. We are a far cry from local levies being about the “extras” they were originally designed to provide. As the economic crises drags on, the importance of local levies has increased. Local communities have responded to that crisis with overwhelming support for their schools.

Simple Majority, the gift that keeps on giving
It seems odd, but Washington state has a fondness for requiring super majorities when it comes to revenue. It used to be that local schools had to receive more than 60% of the vote to secure a local operating levy. Thanks to Simple Majority (also known as I-4204, passed in 2007) we returned to the most basic of democratic principles, majority rules. That means that 51 levies representing $1.2 billion have passed because of Simple Majority. That is $1.2 billion to support the students in those districts that they otherwise would not have received.

Our support for majority rule extends to the state Legislature, where the law currently requires two-thirds majority to raise revenue. The I-1053 lawsuit, which we filed along with the Washington Education Association and other plaintiffs in October, will have its first hearing in March. We hope that the combination of the McCleary ruling and the eventual ruling on I-1053 will clear the way to fund our schools at the level they need, and local voters seem prepared to support.

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Learn to be a better parent at Life Skills Parenting workshop

mom hugging childJoin ParentMap and the University of Washington for a seminar on building life skills for parents and children. At the day-long event, you can attend presentations and learn techniques aimed at teaching strategies to strengthen family dynamics, enhance parenting effectiveness and reduce stress at home.

Presentations will be on topics including inspiring real change, improving everyday moments with children, and best parenting practices for the 21st century. There will also be a demonstration of Dialectical Behavior Therapy principles in action.

Well-known professors and researchers of psychology will be presenting including:

  • Marsha Linehan, Professor of Psychology and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and is Director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics who developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT);
  • Liliana Lengua, director of the UW Center for Child and Family Well-Being, a child clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington;
  • Laura Kastner, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington and author of several books on teen development;
  • Anthony DuBose, founding Member and President of the Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle, and the Director of Training and Dissemination for Behavioral Tech, LLC

What: Life Skills Parenting Workshop
When: March 17, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Where: University of Washington, Kane Hall, Seattle
Cost: $49 in advance, $60 day of event

Register here.

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Support your local school levy on Tuesday!

Vote to support your local levy!

A levy to support your school district may be on your ballot, and the ballot is due Tuesday.

hand with ballotDespite substantial funding cuts, our public schools are still expected to prepare ALL of our children for success in college, job training, the workforce and life.

To cushion the impact on students, superintendents and local school boards across the state have made the tough decision to ask you to approve a school levy in certain districts on February 14th to help maintain the quality of education at your local schools.

Please support your local schools by voting YES on the supplemental school levy and/or bond campaign.

Thank you for supporting quality education in your community.
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The power is yours! Vote for your favorite "My Dream School" submission

“The walls would be blue. Why? Not because Beyoncé’s baby is named blue. Actually its because light blue helps students focus on what their teacher tells them to do, so they can get all A+’s.”

We are not exaggerating when we tell you how much fun judging this contest this was!

We received so many awesome, funny and thoughtful submissions to our “My Dream School” competition. Although we have selected our Grand Prize Winners in the video, Powerpoint, and drawing/essay categories, it was hard to narrow it down. So hard, in fact, we created the People’s Choice Awards, and we need your help! Vote for your favorite entries. Your choice just might be our People’s Choice Grand Prize Winner! To see the nominees for People’s Choice (and the Grand Prize Winning entries), head on over to our vote page and choose your favorite!

Share our page and encourage your friends and family to vote.

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High school rigor tied to college success

three students in a groupA recent study of Florida students found that students taking higher level courses are more likely to graduate and more likely to succeed in college. The researchers note that these rigorous courses make the biggest difference for students from disadvantaged or high-poverty schools. They also found slightly higher graduation rates from Hispanic, African American and poor students who took more rigorous courses.

Importantly, the research shows that more rigorous coursework can have positive effects across all subjects. The researchers found that taking any higher level courses, whether in math, English, science, social studies or a foreign language, increased the likelihood of attending a four-year college by seven to nine percent and a two-year college by two to four percent. It also translated into raising student’s college GPA and the number of credits they earned.

Read more about the study here.

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